March 31, 2013 by Gregg Collett
A somewhat forgotten man this season, Keith Fahey has returned to the Blues fold to the acclaim of the majority of the club’s fans. Since joining the club in 2009, Fahey has proved a divisive figure amongst the St. Andrews faithful, but his importance to the team has been highlighted by his performances in the past two games.
The midfielder’s return to Ireland for what we still only know to be ‘personal reasons’ added to the misery, during what was the toughest part of Lee Clark’s reign. With injuries piling up and performances slipping, a cool head in midfield was exactly what the team needed, and Fahey’s return could not have come soon enough for the Blues boss. Results and performances have improved, and Friday’s 4-0 victory at Crystal Palace was the performance bluenoses had been waiting for all season. Fahey played an instrumental role in a five-man midfield, sitting back and allowing Ravel Morrison, Shane Ferguson and Nathan Redmond to attack with more freedom, and Redmond in particular seemed to excel in the free role that he was given.
Fahey came to St. Andrews as a relative unknown, but the former Arsenal trainee was an instant hit in the Championship, scoring some instrumental goals in Alex Mcleish’s team’s promotion push. He retained his place in the side for the 2009/10 season in the Premier League, starting 18 games, and was in the starting lineup for the 2011 Carling Cup Final victory. After the departures of Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer, Fahey became first choice under Chris Hughton, but received criticism from some fans, and became the subject of many disagreements about his style of play.
The midfielder’s recent absence, though, has shown how important the role he plays is, as an anchorman behind the young Blues attacking midfielders. Stepping in to a similar role as Barry Ferguson played before him, most of the team’s attacks came through Fahey, and he seemed to provide the missing link that Blues have needed this season.
With seven games to go, a play-off push seems unlikely, but the return of Fahey can only mean improved performances, and Lee Clark will be hoping to end the season on a positive note.
Your Tweets –
Chris Pugh (@c_pugh17) – ‘He brought an experience and solidity that we have been craving since his departure, integral.’
Martin James (@martinjames26) – ‘Fahey’s return to squad:p3 w3 goal diff +7! We’ve missed him! Redmond,Davies,Ravel &Ferguson also playing big part!’
Gabriel Sutton (@_thescore) – ‘Covered any space needed, held structure of team with positioning, never gave ball away. The missing piece of our jigsaw?’
Dan Bridge (@bridgedan) – ‘Is the ‘tache back too?’
So is Fahey the difference-maker that the team has been needing? Or do we need to move in a different direction next season? Send me your tweets at @GreggCollett, and let me know what you think!
By Gregg Collett